Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trimble Outdoor's Allsport GPS for Blackberry

A few months back I downloaded a new app for my Blackberry.  Called Allsport GPS, it's from Trimble Outdoor, the well-known GPS manufacturer.

I'd hoped to use it as a training monitor for road riding.  In theory you would let it snyc with the satellites, then hit the "Start" button and ride.  After you finish the ride, you hit "Stop," and it uploads your workout to a private website.  The software promised to record an exact replica of the trip in map form compatible with Google maps and Goodle Earth.  It would also record speed, distance, and altitude moment by moment for the ride.  All for about $50 a year!  With this I could forgo the expensive bike mounted computers and just keep my current Vetta.  I always take my phone with me anyway, so it was a no brainer to at least try it out.  

For the first few months I had difficulty getting it to sync tot he satellites.  Trimble support was fast, but never got to the bottom of the problem.  So I went frustrated last season.  Then this January my Blackberry broke and I got a new one.  Low and behold... the thing suddenly works.

I'll probably do a better review at some point, but wanted to report this right away.  I rode 30 miles around Bozeman today and Allsport logged the entire journey perfectly. ... well almost.  It clocked me doing 55 miles per hour at one point.  I'm thinking that's not quite right.

Anyway, take a peek.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Road Ride in Bozeman February 2009

My friend John Friedrich took me on a great early spring road ride around the north end of Bozeman on Tuesday.
We pushed about 30 miles into the rolling foothills of the Bridger Mountains. The tour took us through rambling ranches and horse farms skirting the hills.

We each took our fixed gear bikes: John his Specialized Langster with a 42x16 set up, and me with my Fausto-Coppi set at 42x15. We had a ball on a beautiful spring day.

It started with a last minute message from John on my Blackberry and ended as any reasonable people would, on the bar top of a local watering hole.

In the middle, John schooled me on our first uphill challenge, then I finally caught up. In the process of tracking him down I screamed by a poor stunned dude on a geared thing. Vroom, vroom! Most of the ride was level, or gradually up/down. The scenery was spectacular.

See the Trimble Allsport GPS map of the ride here:

And be sure to catch the quick video of the ride at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shipping The Coppi

I year or so ago I took my sweet all-steel Italian road racing machine and sent it off to Steve Bilenky at Bilenky Cycleworks in Pennsylvania. Steve and his crew installed S&S couplings and matched the original paint perfectly. The cutting and brazing burns the paint so they have to do a very difficult color-on-color match.

The bike came back from Bilenky in two boxes. One with the frame, the other with the new S&S designed plastic shipping box. Inside the box were a full set of custom sewn tube protectors. These are cordura nylon sleeves with Velcro closures that cover every exposed tube on the bike.

Also in the case were a set of four white pvc compression members. These are cut to exactly the interior dimension of the case height. You put them inside and they help provide support for compression impacts to the side of the case.

Lastly, and most importanly, there was a custom spanner wrench to tighten or loosen the S&S couplings. The couplings themselves are worth mentioning. They're aircraft grade stainless steel milled to exacting precision. Turning the couplings provides a satisfying confidence in their strength.

Anyway.... go to www.sandsmachine.com/ for more information. You'll also find a link there to Steve Bilenky's shop. He's the master at this. Many frame builders around the country send him their bikes to retro-fit couplings. He's that good! http://www.bilenky.com/Menu.html

Check out the six minute video of the whole process of taking down the bike and stuffing it all into the box.